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Explain and illustrate the four different viewpoints on the state of nature of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and the Anarchists.

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Introduction

´╗┐Explain and illustrate the four different viewpoints on the state of nature. The four main viewpoints on the state of nature are proposed by; Hobbes, Locke Rousseau and Anarchists. Hobbes outlines the state of nature in Leviathan. It is very likely that Hobbes view on the state of nature is influenced by the civil war that engulfed England from its start in 1642. Hobbes first outlines as human beings in a constant search for felicity, a continual success in achieving objects of desire. Hobbes believed that the fundamental principal behind the search for felicity was the desire for power. This desire for power becomes problematic, as humans will be competing against each other for said power. Hobbes states that the search of felicity is ?a restlesse desire of power after power, that ceaseth onely in death?. This creates a state of war as Hobbes holds an assumption that all human being are by nature ?equal?; by this he means each individual has an equal ability to kill another individual. ...read more.

Middle

Locke proposed a fundamentally different state, a state of perfect freedom and equality which is bound by a Law of Nature. Hobbes principle of equality is concerned with the mental and physical capabilities of all people, no one naturally has a right to rule. Locke?s Law of Nature states that no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions. This Law has a theological aspect as Locke believed that while we have no natural superiors, we do have a superior in heaven. Essentially this law outlines that mankind is to be preserved as much as possible. Harm can only be caused for the purpose of self-defence. Locke?s natural liberty is to do no more than what the Law of Nature outlines. Locke recognizes that humans would not be automatically motivated to follow the Law of Nature and that an enforcer would be needed to ensure the function of the law. ...read more.

Conclusion

Humans have two special attributes; free will, and the capacity for self-improvement. Unlike Hobbes, Rousseau believed that the human desire for self-improvement would not lead to immanent warfare as Hobbe?s believed, but would to innovation. This would result in the idea of co-operation being employed, individuals have mutual interests and would benefit out of co-operating to achieve goals. The anarchist view of the state of nature outlines that humans, when perfected could become not only non-aggressive but highly co-operative. Humans profit from natural ?mutual aid?. If the state of war is damaging for all, rational, self-interested creatures will eventually learn to co-operate. The state would be peaceful and plentiful as a result of teamwork. Anarchists argue that government is not the remedy to anti-social behavior, but is it?s cause. This state of nature supposing humans will be co-operative and help each other, appears to sound utopian. However it is argued that social pressure in the anarchist state of nature and other forms of social action will result in discipline. ...read more.

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